A symposium is a term used to refer to a gathering of people for a particular occasion. At the same time, the symposium has a number of important differences from, for example, concepts such as conference, discussion or plenum.
A symposium is a meeting of the scientific community dedicated to any topical issue.
Origin of the term
The word "symposium" in Russian is borrowed. It came to us from the Latin language, in which there was a word with a similar sound - symposium. In this case, the Latin term, in turn, goes back in its origin to the Greek root, which in the language of the ancient Hellenes meant "a joint feast". This, at first glance, free interpretation of the original word is due to the fact that in Ancient Greece, during long feasts, as a rule, there was a heated discussion of the current pressing problems of society and the political sphere.
Features of the symposium
In the scientific community, the term "symposium" is most often used to refer to a representative conference devoted to the discussion of a topic or problem, in which delegates from several countries participate. In addition, an additional, somewhat less frequently used meaning of this word is the designation of a special form of the teacher's lesson with students.
The concept of a symposium has a number of important differences from other types of scientific meetings that make it possible to identify it. So, one of them is a certain frequency of holding: as a rule, a symposium on a particular topic is held with the established regularity, while the frequency of the event can be relatively low - for example, once every several years.
Symposia are usually devoted to topics that are already well enough developed in a particular scientific field, which means that there are a significant number of points of view regarding the issue under consideration. This, in turn, entails another feature of the symposium: as a rule, during its holding the floor is given to the supporters of different positions so that they can express themselves on the problem being analyzed.
However, the nature of these statements during the symposium cannot be spontaneous: such an event is held according to a pre-planned schedule, which includes the composition and schedule of all speeches that are planned during this event. In order to be included in the agenda of the event, participants must in advance submit to the organizing committee the topics and summaries of their reports, and after their agreement and approval, they will be included in the symposium program. This rigor in the organization ensures that the event is in line with the established schedule, thanks to which overlaps rarely occur during its holding.